Almost 60% of the UK’s solar installers are looking to diversify into new technologies should the government’s feed-in tariff proposals come into force next year, a survey conducted by Solar Power Portal publisher Solar Media has found.

Solar Media has been canvassing insight from installers regarding their plans for the UK market should the government enact its contentious feed-in tariff cuts as expected, and found that a majority will be looking into other installation markets as a result.

One mooted area of particular interest is energy efficiency measures, incorporating technologies such as smart meters, LED lighting and increased building insulation, due to the UK’s emerging need to ramp up efforts in the space.

The UK is falling behind on its smart meter roll-out and the energy and climate change select committee has warned that it risks being seen as an “expensive failure” if efforts are not increased in the coming months. The government wants smart meters in every home by 2020, but just over 1.3 million have been installed to date.

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme also comes into force on 5 December this year, a new government measure which requires businesses of a certain size to review their energy consumption and saving measures on a regular basis.

The Mark Group, which entered administration after SunEdison withdrew its interest in the UK commercial and residential solar market, has announced its intention to repurpose itself for the energy efficiency market in the coming months, and it’s a move various installers are expected to make as prospective cuts to the feed-in tariff reduce solar margins.

A large number of installers (53%) said they would be moving back to trades they were in before they moved into solar, with a large emphasis on roofing and electrical engineering. Just 7% of those surveyed said they would be intending to stay solely as a PV installer, enforcing the current market switch to more diversified offerings.

This year’s Solar Energy UK show includes a number of seminars, discussions and exhibitions designed specifically to help guide installers towards diversification, including our energy+ stage dedicated to sessions on storage. Seminars on business diversification are also prominent throughout the three-day event.

This is part one of a three-part series, where we will reveal more of the findings of our survey in the build up to next week’s event.